A Tough Ending For Tri-County 3A Basketball – Yellow Jackets, Eagles, Trojans All Quarantined To End Season
COVID-19 was unkind to the Boys Tri-County 3A Basketball season as three teams have shut down the season with 2-3 games to go after a positive COVID test at Harnett Central. All Tri-County 3A teams endured a season of masks, fan limits, constant cleaning, and temperature checks to play a conference schedule amid a year unlike any other. For the most part it worked, except for a short quarantine to start the season for Harnett Central, and teams were able to get through the meat of the schedule and 3 games from the regular season finish.
Teams entered the next-to-last week of the season and after last Tuesday’s games, Southern Lee lead the league at 6-0 – holding a two-game lead over (4-2) Triton and (4-2) Union Pines. Harnett Central played a game at Western Harnett on Tuesday and then a make-up game at Lee County on Wednesday night. After a Harnett Central player woke up feeling poorly on Thursday – and would test positive for COVID later in the day – the Trojans had no choice but to quarantine for 14 days, which in effect ended the Harnett Central season.
Unfortunately, with the COVID guidelines the NCHSAA has in place, Western Harnett and Lee County played Harnett Central within 48 hours of the positive test and have shut down their programs as well. It is a bitter end to a tough season for all 3 teams and you have to feel for the seniors that have been through a year difficult to enjoy.
Southern Lee lost at Union Pines on Friday and Union Pines also won last night (Tuesday) at Triton to finish 6-2 and 2nd in the Tri-County 3A. That ends the regular season for the Tri-County 3A and Southern Lee will advance to the State 3A Basketball playoffs beginning next week as the Tri-County #1 Seed. With one less round of playoffs the Tri-County 3A is only guaranteed one spot, with a 2nd based on conference winning percentage as compared to all other 3A teams in the east. Union Pines has finished at 6-2 (.75) and now waits to see if they will get one of the 5 at-large spots based on conference winning percentage. State 3A playoff pairings should be announced this coming Saturday by the NCHSAA.